On February 22nd, 1911, William Paul Whitsett, land development tycoon, threw a big party. The Pacific Electric ran trains out from Los Angeles to the middle of nowhere, in the vast expanse of the San Fernando Valley. Barbecue and land auctions...make sure you brought your checkbook! A new town's been built, and this time we did it right!
And so went the birth of Van Nuys, California, USA.
When my mom and dad brought me back from Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, a building which is now the big blue Scientology monstrosity and surmounted by a CROSS, (How tref!) they took me back to an apartment in Van Nuys. I really have no memory of that place...my earliest memories are of the second place we lived, in Tarzana.
I'm actually a bit perturbed that no big plans were made to celebrate the Van Nuys Centennial. I mean, it's not like something like this could sneak up on people. 100 years of Van Nuys, man! Every summer for 22 years, San Bernardino has done the Route 66 Rendezvous. Car culture has been so important to the Van Nuys mystique...why isn't there a similar event? For a brief time the Keyes auto dealerships revived Cruise Night...that didn't last long. Where's the big shiny parade of Kustom Kars?
There's going to be an event at the Van Nuys Orange Line Station this Saturday. Maybe when y'all are done with the Health Fair at beautiful Plaza del Valle, you might want to drop in and see how the festivities over there are going. It seems very ad-hoc to me, though. Not really much can be hosted there...you have the platform for the Orange Line, you have a small parking lot, and you have not much else. Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park is in the process of being remodeled, so I guess I understand why these festivities weren't held there. But can't they figure out some place better than the Orange Line station? Dang.
Still...it's part of my life, the Valley. Panorama City is Van Nuys' kid sister, the one who was a cute little beauty queen in the beginning, had a wild youth, and now is getting ready for her closeup again. Van Nuys was the sensible place, where you went to deal with City, State and Federal business when you didn't have to go Downtown. Older and wiser. I just wish they would have made more to-do about the old girl hitting the Century mark.